Opened in 1838, Holy Trinity is the second oldest church in Eastbourne, and in 1847 it became the Parish Church for the growing seaside area of the new town.
Holy Trinity has a long tradition of evangelical Bible-teaching ministry.
1838-1847 - Canon Thomas Pitman Vicar of St Mary’s of which Trinity Chapel was a Chapel of Ease
1838-1839 - Revd. W Wingfield Curate in Charge
1839-1847 - Revd. RW Pierpoint Curate in Charge
1847-1878 - Revd. Richard W Pierpoint MA
He was curate of St Marys’s Church under Canon Pitman and appointed Curate in Charge of Trinity Chapel of Ease. When a separate parish was formed he became vicar and remained so for 31 years – his only incumbency. He retired and died at St Leonards-on-Sea in 1890, and is commemorated by a tablet in the South choir aisle. Under his ministry the congregation rapidly increased in size. It has been recorded that the famous Samuel Wilberforce – then Bishop of Winchester was one of the many noted visiting preachers at Holy Trinity during this time and occupied the pulpit on a number of occasions.
1878-1906 - Revd. William Bathurst MA
He came to Holy Trinity from a Simeon Trustees’ benefice, Gerrards Cross, Bucks. His incumbency lasted 28 years and in 1906 Mr Bathurst retired to the Rectory of Micheldean in Gloucestershire. He died in 1992 at the age of 82 and is commemorated by a tablet in the South choir aisle. Under Mr Bathurst’s long ministry, the work at Holy Trinity was built up and the way prepared for the further developments by his successors. He shows keen interest in foreign missions and for many years was President of the Eastbourne Branch of the Church Missionary Society. He stimulated this interest in foreign missions in the parish which, since then, has always been characteristic of Holy Trinity.
1906 - 1919 - Revd. George P Bassett-Kerry MA
He came from the living at Ventnor, Isle of Wight. Mr Bassett Kerry left Eastbourne on his appointment as Vicar of Christ Church, Beckenham, Kent. He subsequently became Vicar and Rural Dean of Braintree, Essex. He died on 28th May 1948 at the age of 82 at his home at Sandown, Isle of Wight and is buried in Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne. A memorial tablet is in the South choir aisle. It has been said, however, that ‘his real memorial is the church he beautified and loved’. Mr Bassett Kerry was the special preacher at the evening service of the Centenary Celebration on Sunday 27th November 1938. It was because of his energy and foresight that the church was enlarged as we see it today.
1919 - 47 - Canon Stephen M Warner MA
His was the first of two names put before the Patron, the Vicar of Eastbourne, by Mr Bassett Kerry before he retired. Canon Warner came to Holy Trinity from St Paul’s, Upper Norwood. He had also been a Chaplain to the Royal Naval Reserve at Crystal Palace during the 1914-18 war. Canon Warner was widely known as a Evangelical leader. He described himself as an ‘old fashioned Evangelical’. He was a speaker at the Keswick Convention, Chairman of the Ruanda Council of the Church Missionary Society and keen supporter of the Church Pastoral Aid Society. He died a few days after preaching at the Christmas Service in 1947 at the age of 74. He is buried at Studland in Dorset. There are still many who have a personal knowledge and memories of Canon Warner’s ministry but few realised that for a long time he suffered from sever angina. Often he would dissolve a tablet in his mouth before he could ascend the pulpit steps. Such was his devotion to his work that one Sunday he refused to rest in bed unless his doctor, a previous medical missionary, promised to preach the evening sermon – which he did.
1948-1961 - Canon L Gordon M Sheldon MA
Before coming to Eastbourne, he had held the important post of Rector and Rural Dean of Cheltenham and later became Vicar of Crowborough. In 1950 the late Bishop of Chichester (Dr. G. K. A. Bell) appointed him an Honorary Canon of Chichester Cathedral in which he occupied the stall of the Prebendary of Seaford. In 1961 he retired to Rustington for health reasons where he spent the last ten years of his life. Although he admitted that he had not his predecessor’s gifts he strongly upheld the traditions of Holy Trinity. Through his pastoral visits to the old and his active interest in the work of the Sunday school, he quickly gained the love of the congregation. He had three sons, one of whom, John, went in to the ministry and became Vicar of Lindfield. Canon Sheldon was a naturalist, a keen bird watcher, had a wonderful collection of seashells, and was particularly interested in trees. His successor who had to have a large tree cut down in the vicarage was worried as to what his reaction would be! It was through Canon Sheldon that flowers were first introduced in the sanctuary. Like her husband, Rachel was much loved by the congregation and like him, did much of her visiting a bicycle.
1962-1973 - Revd. Frederick G Kerr-Dineen MA
The adopted son of Prebendary Colin Kerr of St Paul’s Church, Portman Square, London and brother-in-law of the Revd. Timothy Dudley-Smith, former Bishop of Thetford, he served his curacy at St John’s Church, Blackheath and became Vicar of Lindfield, Sussex before coming to Eastbourne. Mr Kerr-Dineen left Holy Trinity in 1973 on his appointment as Archdeacon of Chichester and Rector of Stopham. Later he became Archdeacon of Horsham and retired as Canon Emeritus of Chichester Cathedral to Cocking near Midhurst, West Sussex. Mr & Mrs Kerr-Dineen were the first occupants of the new Vicarage which they helped to design. With their family of four young boys it rapidly became a happy and welcoming home. Their daughter Christabel made her appearance later – the first baby to be born at the Vicarage in the history of Holy Trinity. ‘Freddie’ as he was affectionately known, saw the organ rebuilt and the chapel with it’s furnishings completed. He was instrumental in helping get a branch of the ‘Samaritans’ started in Eastbourne. Under his ministry and with the introduction of ‘Family Services’ and the use of visual aids, the work amongst the young people went on increasing. Mr Kerr-Dineen, a gifted preacher, was never seen to use notes of any kind. With his sense of humour and gift of writing verse he has produced a small book of poems called ‘The Company of Merrymakers’. This was sold in aid of the Diocesan Family Social Work in 1986.
1973-1982 - Revd. Michael Brettel MA
After studying at the London College of Divinity and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford he was ordained in 1949 to a curacy at St John’s Church, Blackheath. After a second curacy at St Peter’s Church, Norbiton, Michael was appointed Vicar of St Mary of Bethany, Woking. Later he moved to Bristol to become Vicar of Christ Church, one of the largest parishes in the Diocese. In 1982 he moved from Eastbourne to Bexhill to be instituted as Vicar of St Stephen’s church on 11th June.
1982-2000 - Revd. Kenneth H Blyth Dip.Th
His previous ministry consisted of a curacy in St Albans Diocese where he had charge of a daughter church in a new housing area, followed by the Incumbency in the same diocese of Buttingford with Aspenden for seven years. After moving to Exeter Diocese in 1972 he served on Diocesan Boards and Committees and was appointed Rural Dean of Tiverton. For the ten years before coming to Eastbourne, he had been Rector of the Exe Valley Team of churches consisting of fourteen parishes and three assisting team Vicars. Avenel, Kenneth’s wife, was a Diocesan vice-president of the Mother’s Union in the Exeter Diocese and supported him fully in all his work. Ken and Avenel are now enjoying retirement back in Devon where they are still very much involved in ministry at St George’s, Tiverton, and also with their family and grandchildren.
2001- 2010 Revd. John A Cheeseman MA Dip.Th
Instituted in June 2001, he trained for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol, after which he spent three years as curate of St Nicholas, Sevenoaks. He then moved on to a second curacy at St John’s, Egham, in Surrey, where he was also a chaplain at Royal Holloway College, University of London. In 1982 he was appointed Vicar of Christ Church, Leyton in the Diocese of Chelmsford, where he spent 8 very interesting and challenging years. In 1990 he moved to the Diocese of Canterbury, where he became Vicar of St James, Westgate-on-Sea for 11 years. During this period he was Chairman of the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship, and also responsible for training lay readers in the theory and practice of preaching. John met his wife Joy at Trinity College, Bristol, where she was training as a parish worker. John & Joy have always worked together throughout their ministry, and Joy was employed as the Parish Worker at Holy Trinity, also supporting John’s work in many other ways. They moved back to Westgate-on-Sea in September 2010, from where John took up a ministry of itinerant preaching.